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Farmers market moves to Essentia Health on Tuesdays

The Lakes Area Farmers Market is making a big move this year.

Open Tuesdays and Saturday every year from May to October, this year the farmers market will be located in Essentia Health St. Mary’s north campus parking lot (the far east side of the lot near the dialysis building) on Tuesdays to garner more exposure and therefore more customers.

The market will remain in Peoples Park on Saturdays, where it’s been located the last few years.

“They will be more visible, and we have a lot of employees here also, plus the number of patients that come through our clinic, too,” St. Mary’s Nutrition Services Manager Marsha Parker said. “I think it will be wonderful for all those farmers who participate, and it will be a good benefit for the community, too.”

Those at the helm of the farmers market agree, too.

“Obviously there’s a lot more traffic in that location than Peoples Park. It’s still a bit hard to explain to people where we’re at,” Marcus Lacher said. 

Lacher takes care of the public relations for the farmers market, and his wife, Annmarie, is president of the board.

“Mid-week, there’s very little drive-by traffic,” Lacher said of Peoples Park. “Saturdays it’s a bit more effective. Typically, the people that know us come seek us. But not the type of customer that notices you and decides to come visit you for the first time. I’m hoping we get some new customers from this exposure.”

The downtown location will also allow the farmers market to advertise their Saturday location in Peoples Park.

So not only will the farmers market get more exposure, it will be more accessible to those working and visiting Essentia Health.

“Essentia Health brought us the invitation,” Lacher said. “I talked to Peter Jacobson (Essentia Health CEO) and he said it’s all about promoting the benefits of local, fresh food options, particularly vegetables, of course.”

The farmers market will be at the crossroads of Frazee Street and McKinley Avenue next Tuesday, May 20, but actually opens this Saturday in People Park.

Though it’s a little early for much produce, there will be plants, crafts, baked goods, meat, eggs and other items for sale this early spring.

Coming later this summer, there will be some cooking demonstrations to be held in Peoples Park, where there is a kitchen available.

Follow Pippi Mayfield on Twitter at @PippiMayfield.